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Tactical Rifles
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More About Tactical Rifles

Hinterland Outfitters online store carries a huge selection of tactical rifles for sale from top manufacturers at discounted prices. AR-15 rifles, AK-47 rifles, Bullpup rifles, M1A rifles and Long-Range Precision rifles – you name it, we have them all.

We carry all of the major brands of tactical rifles for sale including:

  • Accuracy International
  • Barrett
  • Armalite
  • Bushmaster
  • Century Arms
  • Christensen Arms
  • Colt
  • Daniel Defense
  • Desert Tech
  • DSA
  • DRD
  • FN Herstal
  • Heckler & Koch
  • Nemo Arms
  • Falkor Defense
  • POF
  • Primary Weapon Systems
  • Sig Sauer
  • Springfield Armory
  • And many more

Today, ask several people to define tactical rifle, and chances are you’ll receive several different answers. For our purposes here, however, tactical rifles, which are sometimes also called sporting rifles or survival rifles, are semi-automatic or bolt action, medium to large caliber firearms. Long-range bolt action precision rifles used by snipers, hunters and competition shooters are also considered tactical firearms.

History of Tactical Rifles

The forerunners of today’s tactical rifles were compact, selective-fire automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles used by the German army in World War II. By the end of the twentieth century, most armies throughout the world had replaced their higher-caliber, longer barreled rifles and submachine guns with lighter and more maneuverable assault rifles. Early examples include the German 7.92 x 33mm StG 44 introduced during World War II, which is considered the first true assault rifle, and the Soviet 7.62 x 39mm AK-47 Kalashnikov used extensively by the USSR and its allies. The AK-47 remains the most widely produced assault rifle of all time.

During the 1950s, arms manufacturer Armalite developed the fully-automatic AR-10, which was a combat firearm chambered for 7.62×51mm NATO ammunition. Armalite redesigned the AR-10 in 1957 to accommodate the .223 Remington cartridge, calling the modified version the Armalite AR-15. Both the AR-10 and AR-15 designs were licensed to Colt Firearms in 1959, and after a few modifications for the military, the AR-15 became the M16. Introduced during the Vietnam war, the M16 is still in use today, and is the American military’s longest-serving rifle. Chambered for the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge, the M16 is also used by U.S. military allies throughout the world.

By the late 1980s, many of the original AR-15 patents had expired, opening up new opportunities for firearms manufacturers in non-military markets. Newly formed Eagle Arms began producing AR-15s for civilians, and the AR-15 has endured to become the best-selling tactical rifle ever.

Anatomy of a Tactical Rifle

Military-style tactical rifles used by civilians are often wrongly called assault rifles. Many people mistakenly assume the “AR” designation stands for “assault rifle,” when in fact it means “Armalite Rifle,” referring to the firearm’s original manufacturer. Although the two are similar in appearance, a true assault rifle by definition must:

  • Be capable of selectively switching fire modes between automatic and semi-automatic
  • Use an intermediate-sized cartridge, such as 7.92×33mm Kurz, the 7.62x39mm or the 5.56x45mm NATO
  • Have a detachable box magazine
  • Have an effective range of 300 meters (330 yards) or more

Rifles lacking even one of the above criteria are not considered assault rifles, despite frequently being referred to as such. With very few exceptions, private citizens are prohibited by law from possessing fully automatic firearms.

Although the AR-15 is a specific model manufactured by Colt, the term now loosely refers to numerous other rifles built to specifications close to Colt’s original design. Among the more than 150 models of AR-15 tactical rifles for sale online from Hinterland Outfitters are versions from Armalite, Colt,Bushmaster,Ruger, Olympic Arms, Daniel Defense, Heckler and Koch and several others.

There are several variables to the basic AR-15 tactical rifle platform, including the following:

Rate of Fire

The theoretic rate of fire is a function of the speed with which the shooter is able to pull the trigger without taking into consideration the time needed to change magazines. A fully automatic M16 has a theoretic rate of fire of over 1,000 rounds per minute.

The maximum rate of accurate fire for a semi-automatic AR-15 type rifle is 45 to 60 rounds per minute. According to the manufacturer’s manual, the Bushmaster AR-15’s maximum rate of fire is 45 rounds per minute.

Barrel Types

Tactical rifle barrels are made from stainless steel, carbon steel or stainless steel wrapped with a carbon fiber filament, which make them significantly lighter than their all-steel counterparts.

Rifle barrel interiors come either lined or unlined. Most US military rifles are lined with an ultra-thin layer of chrome, which is harder than the steel of the barrel itself. Although slightly less accurate than unlined barrels, chrome lining resists moisture and rust, making them easier to clean and maintain. Chrome-lined barrels are also more resistant to the heat and stress of rapid firing, giving them a longer useful life than other barrel types. Some rifle barrels are coated with Melonite, which is a thinner and more evenly-applied coating that combines the durability of a chrome-lined barrel with the accuracy of a steel barrel.

Most tactical rifles have interchangeable components, including barrels of different calibers and lengths that can quickly adapt the weapon to changing shooting conditions and situations. An example is a semi-automatic AR-15 with a 20-inch barrel, which is accurate up to 400 yards. Because the AR-15’s upper receiver component is interchangeable, the 20-inch barrel can easily be swapped for a shorter, carbine-length barrel in a matter of seconds, quickly converting it from a long-distance precision firearm to a close-quarters combat or defensive weapon. McMillan Firearms ALIAS is an example of a bolt action tactical rifle with barrels that can be changed in less than five minutes, depending upon the type of mission.

Threaded muzzles account for 95% or more of all AR barrels sold today. Threads are machine-cut into the last 1/2 inch of the barrel to accommodate various tactical accessories, such as flash suppressors, sound suppressors, compensators and muzzle brakes.

Barrel Lengths

The type and length of a tactical rifle barrel depends upon the firearm’s primary use. Barrels on both semi-automatic and bolt action tactical rifles are typically heavier than the barrels on hunting rifles. The additional length and weight provide increased muzzle velocity, improved accuracy and added stability, which is important when using rifles equipped with high magnification optics that are affected by even the slightest movement.

The original M16 had a lightweight 20-inch barrel with an effective range of approximately 400 yards. The newer M4 carbine was basically the same firearm, but with a barrel shortened to 14.5 inches to make it more maneuverable in close quarter situations. Civilian rifle barrels, however, are generally required by federal statute to be 16 inches or more in length.

The most popular barrel length for civilian ARs is 16 inches, which is the minimum legal barrel length for privately owned rifles. It is, however, possible to attach a 14.5-inch barrel to an AR-15 platform, as long as a muzzle device of at least 1.5 inches is permanently attached to legally meet the 16-inch minimum. Interchangeable barrels for AR-15 frames are also readily available in 20”, 22” and 24” lengths. Barrels longer than 24 inches used for target shooting generally need to be custom ordered.

Tactical Rifle Effective Ranges

For targets beyond the M4’s 300 to 400 yard effective range but not far enough to require a true sniper rifle, the Designated Marksman’s Rifle (DMR) with a 20-inch barrel and the 18-inch barreled Special Purpose (SPR) Rifle were developed for the US military. Both the DMR and SPR have effective ranges of 600 meters (550 yards) or more.

The record for the longest confirmed combat kill was set in June 2017 by a Canadian sniper in Iraq. Using a .50 caliber McMillan Tac-50, the sharpshooter, who for security reasons hasn’t been identified, scored a direct hit at 3,540 meters, or 2.2 miles, which beat the previous record by more than a kilometer (0.62 miles).

Tactical Rifle Calibers

As with the firearm itself, the “right” caliber for a tactical rifle depends largely upon its intended use. Other factors include the typical shooting distance and the shooting platform itself. Semi-automatic AR-15s are available in calibers as small as.22 Long Rifle Rimfire to the huge Barrett M107 semi-automatic sniper rifle, which fires the .50 caliber BMG.

The most common AR-15 caliber in use today is the relatively small 5.56 NATO, which is equivalent to the Remington .223. Because the AR-15 platform is modular, barrels of different calibers and lengths can be changed to adapt the rifle for different uses. The .300 BLK is an all-around caliber that can be used for hunting, target shooting and home defense. Other calibers suitable for both hunting and competitive shooting are the 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Creedmoor and the 6.5 Grendel, which extends the range of a standard tactical rifle’s to 800 yards or more.

At the end of the day, choosing a tactical rifle caliber comes down to a combination of how the rifle will be used and personal preference. Regardless of the caliber size, Hinterland Outfitters is the right place to shop for tactical rifles for sale online.

Tactical Rifle Stocks

Stocks and chassis systems are interfaces between the shooter and the rifle.

Because of the strenuous conditions under which they are designed to be used, tactical rifle stocks need to be rugged yet lightweight. Wooden stocks can break easily, and tend to warp in wet weather or damp climates, which can affect the barrel’s seating and the rifle’s accuracy. Precision rifle stocks are typically made from synthetic materials such as Kevlar or fiberglass, which overcome many of the wooden stock’s shortcomings, including weight and durability.

Tactical rifles and carbines have two different lengths of receiver extensions called buffer tubes within the stock that absorb some of the recoil and recycle the bolt. Although there are literally hundreds of combinations to choose from, here are the four basic AR stock types:

  • A1 Rifle – This is the original M16 triangular stock. Variations of the A1 are available from after-market supplier Magpul Industries and others.
  • A2 Rifle – The A2 has a longer, adjustable length of pull (LOP) than the A1. LOP is the distance from the trigger to the end of the butt stock, making it adjustable for shooters of different sizes or for firing from different positions or stances.
  • Mil-Spec Carbine – Built to exact military specifications with components that are interchangeable with military parts, the mil-spec carbine tube buffer spring assembly allows the attachment of a collapsible M4-type butt stock to the rifle. Extension tubes to adapt civilian ARs to military specifications are available from Magpul, Daniel Defense, Luth, Stag Arms and others.
  • Commercial Carbine – The commercial carbine’s buffer tube has an outside diameter of 1.17”, which is slightly larger than the mil-spec’s 1.14” carbine buffer tube. When choosing a commercial carbine stock and mounting kit for your automatic rifle, be sure to select the proper configuration.

Although choosing from among the many types of stocks available can be overwhelming, Hinterland Outfitters’ team members will be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have.

Chassis Systems

As with stocks, chassis systems are interfaces between the shooter and the rifle. Tactical rifle chassis systems house the trigger, hold the feeding mechanism or magazine and allow the attachment of options and accessories for customization and versatility. Chassis systems are usually made from aluminum, and unlike stocks, barrels can be easily bedded without the assistance of a skilled gunsmith.

Some of the many accessories and options that can be added to a tactical rifle chassis include butt stocks, slings and monopods, bipods and tripods. Additional optional add-ons include pistol grips, night vision optics and muzzle brakes to counter recoil.

Accuracy International, Troy and Desert Tech are among the several chassis systems carried by Hinterland Outfitters.


Receivers are the portion of the rifle that houses the firing mechanism, and are usually threaded at the forward end to allow interchanging barrels of different lengths and calibers. AR-15 receivers are modular platforms that provide maximum flexibility and customized configurations. As with barrels, stocks and buffer tubes, receivers are available in a wide range of choices, depending upon the shooter’s needs, preferences and budget.

AR-15s and M16s have both upper and lower receivers. The upper receiver holds the barrel and bolt, while the lower receiver contains the firing mechanism and magazine. The lower receiver is the platform around which the rifle is assembled and customized. Lower receivers are sold in four configurations:

  • Complete Rifles have completed upper and lower assemblies
  • Complete lowers have the basic firing mechanisms intact
  • Stripped lowers allow adding options and accessories for greater customization
  • 80% lowers are not considered to be firearms by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF), and therefore do not require a federal Firearms License (FFL), since they are incapable of firing until completed by a gunsmith or the owner. 80% lowers provide gun owners with the most flexibility in customization.

Tactical Rifle Ammunition Capacity

Some long-range tactical competition and hunting rifles, such as the bolt action Barrett Model 99, hold only a single round, since precision and accuracy, rather than speed, are the important considerations when shooting targets at great distances.

Bolt action and semi-automatic tactical rifles will accommodate box magazines with capacities from 5 to 30 or more rounds, plus one in the chamber. Examples include the FN Herstal Ballista and Accuracy International AX rifle.

Although box magazines that hold 30 or more cartridges are readily available, it is illegal in some states to sell magazines for AR-platformed, semi-automatic tactical rifles that hold more than ten rounds. One of our sales staff will be pleased to advise you of restrictions, if any, that apply in your area.

Tactical Rifle Options and Accessories

Tactical rifles are modular in design, and most owners eventually personalize their firearms by replacing or adding accessories. The number of options available is almost limitless, and include items such as:

  • Interchangeable barrels of different calibers and length
  • Upper and lower receivers
  • Stocks and forends
  • Slings
  • Carry handles
  • Foregrips and pistol grips
  • Sight systems and night-vision optics
  • Monopods, bipods and tripods
  • Magazines
  • Muzzle brakes and flash suppressors
  • Rail kits and covers
  • And lots more

Whatever options or accessories you have in mind to personalize your tactical rifle, you’re sure to find them at Hinterland Outfitters.

Various Tactical Rifle Types

Examples of some tactical rifle types include:

Modern Sporting Rifles

Modern Sporting Rifles, or MSRs, is a generic term for semi-automatic AR-10 and AR-15-style firearms in various calibers and configurations. MSRs are used for hunting, competitive target shooting and personal defense. Examples of modern sporting rifles include Armalite M15, Daniel Defense DDM4 and Rock River POF, Nemo Arms, Falkor Defense and many more.

AK-47 Rifles

AK-47s are semi-automatic tactical rifles based on the original fully automatic Kalashnikov design. As with AR-15s, AK-47s are made by numerous manufacturers worldwide. Among the AK-47 tactical rifles for sale online by Hinterland Outfitters are the Advance Technology, Century Arms and ATI Tribute. AK-47s are used for hunting large game such as deer or boar, competition target shooting and home defense.

Bullpup Rifles

Bullpup rifles are compact tactical firearms with actions located behind rather than in front of the trigger mechanism, which shortens the rifle’s overall length. Bullpup rifles maintain the accuracy and muzzle velocity of a long barrel, are lighter to carry and are more maneuverable than conventionally constructed rifles of the same barrel length. Examples include the Barrett Model 95 and Desert Tech SRS-A1.

Precision Sniper Rifles

Precision Sniper Rifles (PSR) are bolt action, modular rifles chambered for large caliber ammunition such as .300 Win Mag and.338 Lapua Magnum. As the name implies, PSRs are used by military, law enforcement and SWAT teams snipers. Civilian uses include medium- to long-range hunting and competitive target shooting. The Ruger Precision Rifle 18008 chambered for a 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is a good example of a PSR for civilian use.

M1A Rifles

M1A rifles are the civilian semi-automatic version of the military’s selective fire M14. M1A is a proprietary name for MSR rifles based upon Springfield Armory’s original M14 design. M1As are used by civilians for hunting, plinking, competition shooting and defense. Examples include the ProMag AAM1ADT and the SPG M1A Scout.

Some of the more exotic tactical rifles on the market include the Kel-Tec SU 16 semi-automatic, the FN M249, which is the semi-automatic civilian version of FN’s Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) military light machine gun and the Windham Weaponry RMCS3 with assorted-caliber interchangeable barrels. These are among other unique tactical rifles for sale online through Hinterland Outfitters.

Learn More about Tactical Rifles for Sale from Hinterland Outfitters

Our huge selection of firearms for sale at low prices make us the best place to research and buy tactical rifles and accessories online. Whether you’re interested in a tactical rifle for hunting, target shooting, recreational plinking or for defensive purposes, we have them all at prices to fit any budget.

We’re straight shooters. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are available toll-free Monday through Friday at 877-446-8370 to answer questions and address any concerns you may have about buying tactical rifles or other long guns or handguns. You can also reach us by email for more information about our tactical rifles for sale.

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